TMPF’s List Of Robo Advisors: 2019 Expanded Guide

Learning how to invest can be overwhelming. So much that people avoid it altogether.  To help folks better understand what’s out there, I’ve compiled a list of robo advisors currently in the market, with some tidbits about some of their more meaningful features.  

Tip:  Bookmark this page as I will be periodically updating the list of robo advisors.

Wait! What’s a Robo Advisor?

List Of Robo Advisors

Not an actual Robo Advisor 🙂

Traditionally, when someone had a little extra cash they wanted to invest, they had two options.

  1. Invest It Yourself 
  2. Hire a Financial Manager To Invest For You

Both options have their pros and cons, and with advances in machine learning over the last decade, a new option for personal investing emerged, the robo advisor.  

With a focus on transparency, automation, and low costs, robo advisors have made a huge splash in the world of personal finance.  It’s crazy how in just a few years the market has gone from 2-3 start-ups, to where we are now where every major brokerage firm has its own flavor.  

How Do Robo Advisors Work?

Generally speaking, the way they work is; 

  1. You set up and fund an account with the robot of your choice
  2. Then answer some questions to determine your risk tolerance i.e. how panicked you’ll get when the market swings
  3. They create and manage a portfolio of assets, typically exchange-traded funds (ETFs), that fit your risk tolerance based on proprietary algorithms that work to continuously optimize your investments

Pretty cool, right?  

Acorns

Acorns has an interesting approach to investing where they enable you to do “micro-investing” of small amounts.  They do this by linking with your credit or debit card, rounding  up your purchases, and automatically investing the difference.  

  • Minimum Investment: $0
  • Fees: $1-$3/month
  • Account Types:
  • Non-retirement and Roth, Traditional, or SEP IRA

Pros:

  • No Minimums
  • Automated Rebalancing
  • Micro-Investments

Cons:

  • Limited Portfolio Options
  • High Fee If Low Balance

Ameritrade

List Of Robo Advisors

Ameritrade has been in the investment services industry for decades, with an established and trusted brand.  

Their robo-advisor offering is focused on providing only the essentials portfolio options someone needs, with a huge selection of account options.  

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  • Minimum Investment: $3000
  • Cost: 0.30% Management Fee
  • Account Types: Individual, Retirement, College, Trusts, UTMA, etc

Pros:

  • Tons Of Account Choices
  • Free Tax Loss Harvesting

Cons:

  • Limited Portfolio Options
  • High Account Minimum

Betterment

List Of Robo Advisors

Betterment is one of the leaders in the robo-advisor space.  

It’s focused on offering an easy to use experience for the hands-off investor, while still providing the right mix of tools that keep you informed and engaged

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  • Minimum Investment: $0
  • Fees: 0.25% Management Fees
  • Account Types: Retirement, Non-Retirement, and Trusts

Pros:

  • No Minimum To Start
  • Fractional Share Investing
  • Great Tools for Goal-Based Investing

Cons:

  • No Direct Indexing
  • List Element

blooom

List Of Robo Advisors

Blooom has positioned itself uniquely in the robo advisor space by focusing specifically on employee-sponsored 401k’s.  Their goal is to enable smaller businesses to offer sponsored funds as an employee benefit, while not incurring the higher  costs that tend to accompany most traditional providers

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  • Minimum Investment: $0
  • Fees: $10/month
  • Account Types: Employee Sponsored 401k, 457, 403B, TSP, etc

Pros:

  • No Account Minimum
  • Analyzes 401k Investment Expenses
  • Provides Employer-Sponsored 401k

Cons:

  • Limited Options, Mostly Target Based  
  • Leans Towards Aggressive Allocations

Charles Schwab 

List Of Robo Advisors

Charles Schwab is an established player in the finance industry.  With “Intelligent Portfolios” they are offering a middle-ground option for folks who like the personalization of a financial advisor but would like to have some more hands-off options as well.  

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  • Minimum Investment: $25,000
  • Cost: 0.28% Management Fee
  • Account Types: Retirement, Non-Retirement, and Trusts

Pros:

  • Access To Real People
  • Huge Selections
  • Auto-Rebalancing

Cons:

  • Large Account Minimum

Ellevest

List Of Robo Advisors

Ellevest is uniquely positioned for the female investor, factoring in things like differences in income and longer lifespans.  

The also a suite of planning tools as well that help you focus your investments on both short and long term goals.

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  • Minimum Investment: $0
  • Cost: 0.25% Management Fees
  • Account Types: Retirement and Non-Retirement

Pros:

  • No Minimum and Low Fees
  • Great Tools for Goal-Based Investing
  • Portfolio options that reflect women’s needs

Cons:

  • Limited Account Types
  • No Tax Loss Harvesting

E-Trade Core Portfolio

List Of Robo Advisors

E-Trade is a long-standing, established player in the finance industry.  

With “Core Portfolio” they are offering a middle-ground option for folks who like the personalization of a financial advisor, but would like to have some more hands-off options as well.  

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  • Minimum Investment: $5000
  • Fees: 0.30% Management Fees
  • Account Types: Retirement and  Non-Retirement

Pros:

  • In-Depth Risk Profile
  • Low-Cost ETF’s
  • Auto-Rebalancing

Cons:

  • High Account Minimum
  • No Tax Loss Harvesting

Fidelity Go

List Of Robo Advisors

Fidelity is an established player in the finance industry.  

With “Fidelity Go” they are targeting customers who may not yet be ready for their full financial services but would like to be able to grow into them later.

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  • Minimum Investment: $10
  • Cost: 0.35%-0.40% Management Fees
  • Account Types: Retirement and Non-Retirement

Pros:

  • Automated Rebalancing
  • Low Account Minimum
  • Transparent Pricing

Cons:

  • No Tax Loss Harvesting
  • Higher Fees
  • Limited Planning Tools

Future Advisor

List Of Robo Advisors

Future Advisor is online service that manages your portfolio based on a risk assessment.  Where they are a bit unique in that they provide recommendations on your linked portfolio, whether they manage them or not, like those managed by Fidelity or Ameritrade.  

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  • Minimum Investment: $10,000
  • Fees: 0.50% annually
  • Account Types: Retirement, Non-Retirement, College e.g. 529, Coverdell

Pros:

  • Aggregates multiple accounts under one view
  • Tax-Loss Harvesting
  • Supports 529 Plans

Cons:

  • High Fees
  • High Account Minimum

Hedgeable

List Of Robo Advisors

As the name implies, Hedgeable is working to bring more sophisticated investing techniques utilized by hedge funds investors to the average person.  This means they employ risk mitigation strategies that hypothetically will protect against market downturns.  

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  • Minimum Investment: $1
  • Fees: 0.30% – .075%/ Annually
  • Account Types: Retirement, Non-Retirement, and Trusts

Pros:

  • Tons of Investment Choices
  • Risk Protection From Down Markets
  • No Minimums

Cons:

  • High Fees

M1 Finance

List Of Robo Advisors

M1 Finance is a hybrid of a traditional broker and a robo-advisor.  What makes them unique is how they do portfolio allocations. 

They have designed their offering around the concept of “Pies”, which are essentially templates on how to allocate your money into a portfolio of investments. 

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  • Minimum Investment: $0
  • Fees: 0.00% Annually
  • Account Types: Retirement, Non-Retirement, and Trusts

Pros:

  • No Fees
  • No Account Minimums
  • Customized Portfolios

Cons:

  • No Tax Loss Harvesting
  • Limited investment choices

motif

List Of Robo Advisors

Motif’s is a hybrid of both a traditional broker and robo-advisor.  While you can buy and trade stocks and ETF’s like a traditional broker,  you can also create collections or “motifs”.  These are groups of stocks and ETF’s selected around various themes, including socially responsible ones e.g. renewable energy.

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  • Minimum Investment: $300
  • Fees: $4.95-$19.95/month
  • Account Types: Retirement and Non-Retirement

Pros:

  • Robo-Advisor and Self-Directed
  • Unique Portfolio Selections
  • Low Cost

Cons:

  • No Direct Dividend Reinvestment
  • Limited Research Tools

OpenInvest

List Of Robo Advisors

OpenInvest is focused on serving people are looking for portfolios that include more socially responsible investment choices focused around causes like renewable energy, and green technologies.  

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  • Minimum Investment: $3000
  • Fees: 0.50% Annually
  • Account Types: Retirement and Non-Retirement

Pros:

  • Ethical Portfolios
  • Tax Loss Harvesting
  • Maintain Stocks Voting Rights 

Cons:

  • High Minimum Balance

Stash

List Of Robo Advisors

Stash takes a unique approach to the passive investing game.  

They don’t automatically manage your portfolio the way robo-advisor, rather they provide a guided experience holding to build a portfolio that closely matches your needs.  

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  • Minimum Investment: $0-$5
  • Fees: Balance <$5k = $1/mo OR Balance > $5k = 0.25%-1%/year
  • Account Types: Retirement and Non-Retirement

Pros:

  • Guided Help for Portfolio Creation
  • Low Account Minimum

Cons:

  • Higher Fees
  • It’s Not Automated

Vanguard

List Of Robo Advisors

Vanguard is an established player in the finance industry.  

With “Personal Advisor Services” they are offering a middle-ground option for folks who like the personalization of a financial advisor but would like to have some more hands-off options as well.  

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  • Minimum Investment: $50,000
  • Cost: 0.30% Management Fees
  • Account Types: Retirement, Non-Retirement, and Trusts

Pros:

  • Lower Management Fees
  • Access to People
  • Large Selection Of Investments

Cons:

  • High Account Minimum

Wealthfront

List Of Robo Advisors

Wealthfront is one of the original entries into the robo-advisor space.  

It’s focused on offering an easy to use experience for the hands-off investor, while still providing the right mix of tools that keep you informed and engaged like it’s “Path” tool.

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  • Minimum Investment: $500
  • Costs: Free < $5000, OR 0.25% management fee>$5000
  • Account Types: Retirement, Non-Retirement, and College e.g. 529

Pros:

  • Tax Loss Harvesting
  • Automatic Rebalancing
  • Low-Cost Funds

Cons:

  • No Fractional Shares
  • $500 Account Minimum

Wealthsimple

List Of Robo Advisors

Wealthsimple is focused on folks who are looking for portfolio options that include more socially responsible investments like renewable energy, and green technologies.

They have been around for years in Canada, entering the US market in 2016. 

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  • Minimum Investment: $0
  • Costs: 0.50% Management Fee
  • Account Types: Retirement, Non-Retirement, and Trusts

Pros:

  • Tax Loss Harvesting
  • Access to Real People
  • No Account Minimum

Cons:

  • High Management Fee

Next Steps:

Now that you’ve had a chance to explore the list of robo advisors, you may be wondering what to do next.  One of the things I recommend in the the TMPF Basics of Personal Finance, is to do these two things prior to any serious investing.

Why is that important?  Because you want to be able to invest money and leave it.  

When I was still in debt and unprepared for any emergency, I would treat my investments as a piggybank.  I’d put money in one month, and take it out the two months later.  Doing that is a great way to lose money on your investments.  Don’t do it.

Once you’ve done those, I’d recommend picking a robo advisor that has the features and cost structure that make sense to you and start making consistent re-occurring investments into it.  Before you know it, you’ll have a growing account 🙂

Personally, I’ve been using Wealthfront for the past year, and have really been pleased with it the results.  What robo advisors are you using?  Any other ones I should I check out?  

Leave a comment below and let me know!

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